A clause is a group of words that have a subject and a verb (predicate). There are two main kinds of clauses: independent and dependent. Independent clauses can stand alone and make a complete thought. They are also called sentences.
Dependent clauses, on the other hand, cannot stand alone. They are an incomplete thought and are dependent on something else to complete their thought. They are called subordinate clauses because they have a subordinate conjunction that links the clause to the other clause. In “When the game started, he was still at home.” the dependent clause is “When the game started” and the subordinate conjunction is “When.” Without the subordinate conjunction, the clause could be independent.
Some people get clauses and phrases confused. A phrase is a group of words that does not have a subject or predicate. A phrase may have a noun or a verb, but they do not function as a subject and predicate team like in a clause. Phrases modify, describe, and give information.
There are three types of dependent clauses: nominal, adverbial, and adjectival. They function as nouns, adverbs, and adjectives. Dependent clauses usually start with a subordinate conjunction, like: as if, because, before, while, now that, until, since, how, where, when, why, unless, and after. Following are explanations and examples.
Nominal clauses act like a noun and can be the subject, appositive, complement, or object. Here are two examples:
Adverbial clauses modify verbs and verb phrases. They answer the questions: why, when, where, what, how much, and under what condition. An example is: Now that I have finished the class, I will get a raise.
Adjectival clauses are also called relative clauses and adjective clauses. They function as adjectives and an example is: Students who are smart get good grades.
Since relative clauses act like adjectives, here is some information on adjectives and what they do. Some adjectives give an opinion, like: pretty, gross, awful, wicked, and precocious. Many adjectives describe physical characteristics, like: purple, round, angular, large, small, old, new, antique, or pale.
Other adjectives describe an object by telling where it came from, what it is used for, and what it is made of. Examples are: northern, stellar, Chinese, linen, silk, wooden, camping, cooking, or swinging.
Comparing two or more things is what some adjectives do. If there are two things being compared, it is a comparative adjective; three is a superlative adjective. Examples are: cheap, cheaper, cheapest; important, more important, most important; and good, better, best.
Now that you understand clauses, you need specific information on relative clauses and their verbs. That way you can answer the question “What is a relative clause verb?” by yourself. To review, a relative clause has a subject and verb, but does not make a complete thought. It is a dependent clause which needs something else to make it complete. A relative clause will start with a relative pronoun, like who, whom, which, or whose; or a relative adverb, like when, where, or why.
Verbs can show action or state of being. State of being is shown with verbs like: am, is, was, were, has been, being, can be, had been, and was being. The following examples will help you understand the answer to the question, “What is a relative clause verb?” as it is a verb in an adjective clause. Here are several relative clauses with the verb underlined: